We need a new chapter in K-12 education where everyone embraces a role and responsibility to advance student learning. Schools and teachers can’t and shouldn’t have to go it alone. We need to support young people in learning paths that span across school, home, community, and online environments. We need a new Community Compact for Education.
This Community Compact for Education—or “EdCompact” for short—isn’t an organization or a sign-on letter. It’s not a school reform strategy, a technology platform, or just a hashtag. It’s a common commitment to set of principles for K-12 learning that can transcend the pervasive “us vs. them” debates and usher in the next era in education. These principles include:
Engaging entire communities. The EdCompact engages everyone across the community in teaching and learning. It prioritizes building and strengthening partnerships among schools, families, community partners, and youth. It doesn’t limit people outside schools to non-academic roles. It brings the community into the classroom and brings teachers into the community. It supports parents as learning coaches and co-learners. It recognizes we have a responsibility to help young people connect the disparate systems involved in their lives—linking schools, civic education, and workforce development.
Prioritizing student engagement. The EdCompact responds to the fact that too many young people are disengaged from learning and dislike school. It puts a top-level priority on student engagement—leading with curiosity and student interests. The EdCompact moves beyond “personalized learning” and “student-centered learning” to the next level of “student-owned learning.” It advances learning opportunities that better connect youth to their passions, peers, community, and careers.
Empowering learners with data. The EdCompact shifts the conversation on testing by focusing on how students and their parents can use test results and other education data to take ownership of their learning paths. It advances ways for students and their parents to securely store, access, and share their education data with others. It helps learners understand their capabilities, effectively communicate them to others, and identify what knowledge, skills, and dispositions they need to develop to build the future lives they want for themselves.
Embracing the digital age. The EdCompact recognizes that youth have increasingly erased the boundaries between their online and in-person lives. It embraces the power of technology not just as a learning tool, but as a way to improve collaboration among teachers, parents, and community organizations. Technology becomes a backbone for engaging entire communities, boosting youth engagement, empowering learners with data, and enabling anytime/anywhere learning.
Are you making everyone in your community an “education insider” and creating better answers to the question “How can I help?” Are you building a community-wide culture of education success? Are you advancing the EdCompact?
Let us know on Twitter using the hashtag #EdCompact.
Technology is rapidly changing the education landscape, and schools are making decisions that will affect the course of learning for years to come. These digital transitions present an urgent challenge: We must ensure that education technology initiatives do not simply evolve as digital versions of the status quo. We have an opportunity to create fundamentally different collaborative models of student-centered learning that advance engagement, support academic success, build skills and foster lifelong curiosity and critical thinking.
How we use technology for learning is particularly critical for our nation’s historically disadvantaged students, who have often been denied access to a world-class education because of race, family income or zip code. Meaningful digital transitions have the power to narrow the persistent achievement gaps many of these students have endured, while closing the opportunity gaps as well.
This is why we have launched Span Learning: to advance student engagement and learning through education partnerships and technology. We put students at the center of a world of learning that spans across schools, families and communities.